The emerging leaders of Kenya’s coastal cashew cooperative

The emerging leaders of Kenya’s coastal cashew cooperative

The Empowering Farmers Foundation, Emerging Leaders and the foundation’s own scholar Maria are going the distance with cashew farmers

For over a year, the innocent foundation has been working with the Empowering Farmers Foundation (EFF) to help smallholder farmers to revive the cashew industry in Kilifi County, in coastal Kenya (innocent foundation scholars get to business – The Innocent Foundation : The Innocent Foundation). They’ve brought in a new, higher-yielding variety of cashew tree and are helping farmers to treat their older trees for mealy worm and powdery mildew. They’re also promoting finger-millet intercropping (because nobody wants to eat cashews all day).  

On top of all of that, they’ve helped farmers to set up a cooperative to coordinate prices and sales of the cashew crop (pictured right).   

What’s more, this summer, the innocent foundation sent scholars Maria M and Borja A to Kilifi to work with the cooperative on a business plan to get more cash for their cashews. To see how things went, take a look at the video.

The innocent foundation scholarship takes the professional skills of our friends at innocent drinks (who know a thing or two about growing, processing and selling fruits and vegetables) and brings them to bear on non-profit problems over a two-week-long visit. The scholarship also sets up connections between for-profit and non-profit experts that long outlast the travel.  

On returning home from Kenya, Maria called up her colleagues in the Emerging Leaders programme for a chat. Maria had been working with Emerging Leaders to help upskill farmers in the innocent drinks supply chain and she wondered if they could help the Kilifi cashew cooperative to take the business plan and really run with it. 

Emerging Leaders had a team of Swahili-speakers on the coast for a few weeks. Over the three days of leadership training, 5 field officers from EFF, 10 members from a local youth group, 2 country agriculture extension officers and 33 farmers came together to agree on what they needed to do to set their collective cashew business running again.  

You don’t turn a coastal cashew industry around in two days, but the farmers’ cooperative, Borja, Maria, the Emerging Leaders team and the Empowering Farmers Foundation sure have the commitment to go the distance.  

Read more about our partnership with the Empowering Farmers Foundation.

Emerging Leaders and Kilifi Cashew Cooperative _ Photo Credit Emerging Leaders

Posted on December 6, 2023